I'm in the midst of creating a syllabus for the course in "law and literature" that I'll be teaching next term. A voluminous body of scholarly literature on the subject has developed in the last twenty years or so and I've been filtering through it with great interest and enjoyment. But the part of the process that is most fun for me is contemplating which literary works to include in the course materials. I've been perusing favourites from my own bookshelves and also consulting a number of anthologies that helpfully collect together much law-related literature in one place: Trial and Error: an Oxford Anthology of Legal Stories (edited by Fred R. Shapiro and Jane Garry), Legal Fictions: Short Stories about Lawyers and the Law (edited by Jay Wishingrad), and Law in Literature: Legal Themes in Short Stories (edited by Elizabeth Gemmette), for example. But I would be remiss if I didn't also call into service the vast knowledge of the book blogging world. Are there any literary works with legal themes that you would recommend I consider for inclusion? I'm interested in literary works of all sorts whether they fit within the rubric of classic, contemporary, popular, detective fiction, children's literature or any other category. I'm most interested in short stories and poems simply because I don't think it's realistic to expect my students to read multiple novels given the time-constraints they'll be operating under, and I'd rather have them read complete works than excerpts. But if novels spring to mind, I'd like to hear about them as well. Please share with me your suggestions, either via email or the comments section below.
The other related endeavour with which I would very much appreciate assistance is the compilation of a list of poets and fiction writers who studied or practiced law. My purpose is two-fold. First, I think such a list might provide inspiration to law students who write and are anxious about their capacity to continue their literary pursuits alongside their legal ones. (Though admittedly some examples, such as Kafka who despised his legal work, or Robert Louis Stevenson who was reputed to have attended his law lectures only when the weather was poor, might cut the other way!) Second, I want to invite them to consider if and how the legal training of particular writers may have influenced their literary work. So again, please share with me the names of any lawyer-writers that occur to you.
Update: With respect to my second question, it seems that James Elkins has already done a very thorough job of cataloguing lawyer-poets the world over. Check out his extraordinary list here. Please keep the names of the fiction writing lawyers coming though...